Andy McLoughlin, an early stage investor at SoftTech venture capital firm in San Francisco, has revealed a hidden passion for European startup founders.
SoftTech only invests in founders that have based their businesses in Silicon Valley or New York so when McLoughlin encounters a European founder he’s automatically drawn to them.
“European founders are great,” he told Business Insider at TechCrunch Disrupt in London. “We have a tonne of really amazing European founders in our portfolio.”
Indeed, SoftTech has invested in a number of European entrepreneurs including Bastian Lehmann (Postmates), Eoghan McCabe (Intercom), Alex Saint (Secret Escapes), James Smith (Bugsnag), Timo Rein (Pipedrive), Alex Tew (Calm), and Joel Gascoigne (Buffer).
“What they have, which I think goes a long way, is they have to really fight to be there [in the US],” said McLoughlin. “Having been in that boat myself, where you have to fight tooth and nail just to stay in the country, you make bloody sure that your business is going to be successful because if you’re building a life somewhere the last thing you want is to have to leave and go home.”
The British venture capitalist cofounded enterprise collaboration firm Huddle with Alastair Mitchell in London before expanding it to San Francisco and turning it into a company that regularly competes with Box and Dropbox. To date, the company has raised $89.2 million (£59.5 million).
McLoughlin left Huddle to become a full-time investor in December 2014, when the company raised its last round of funding.
He said he’d love to be able to invest in London businesses one day but for now the SoftTech team of five is spread quite thin. “As it is I can come back and meet companies and talk to them about the journey to the US because a lot of companies ultimately do want to end up in San Francisco,” he said.